Main News

Wayde van Niekerk runs 44.56 in season opener in Madrid

World record holder Wayde van Niekerk runs 44.56 for second place to Anthony Jose Zambrano in his 400m season opener in Madrid, Saturday (19).

Symone Goss

Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa in the men's 400m at the 2021 World Athletics Continental Tour: Madrid

MADRID, Spain — Olympic champion and world record holder Wayde van Niekerk opened his season in the 400m with a second-place finish at the 2021 Madrid World Athletics Continental Tour silver level meeting at Estadio Vallehermoso, on Saturday, June 19.

Van Niekerk, who will defend his Olympic title from Rio 2016 at the Tokyo Games in Japan next month, clocked 44.56 seconds to finish behind the winner, Anthony Jose Zambrano of Columbia who chased down the South African in the closing meters to take the victory in 44.51s.

Saturday’s race in Madrid was the first 400m appearance for the 28-year-old whose last quarter-mile race was a 45.89s outing in Potchefstroom on November 3, 2020.

Alexander Ogando of the Dominican Republic took third at the multi-purpose venue with a time of 45.62s ahead of his countryman Lidio Andres Feliz who ran 45.87 for fourth.

Van Niekerk got off to a very strong start and covered the entire field inside the opening 200m as he built a sizable advantage. He continued to hold that advantage heading into the home stretch but began to fade in the last 25 meters as a stronger finishing Zambrano managed to close the gap and then nipped the world record holder on the line.

However, despite being pegged back into second place, van Niekerk will be delighted to come through without any problems after he picked up an injury in his last outing in a straightaway 200m at the adidas Boston Games on May 23.

Prior to Saturday’s 400m appearance, van Niekerk had run a series of 200m in South Africa to work on his speed. His performance in Madrid was inside the Olympic qualifying standard of 44.90s.

The South African left his longtime coach, 79-year-old Ans Botha in South Africa and joined the training group of coach Lance Brauman in Florida, USA, last month, noting at the time that “I need to ensure I am training alongside the world’s best sprinters.”

Meanwhile, the winning time by Zambrano was a season’s best for him as he improved on the 44.57s performance from Doha on May 28 when he finished second to American Michael Norman at the Diamond League meeting.

Van Niekerk holds the world record of 43.03s which he set when winning the gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, five years ago.

About The Author

Symone Goss

Simone Goss has been with World-Track since 2003 and has done outstanding work at the back end to help out with traveling and other meeting related activities. Goss has also done work for SportingEagles, Blaze News and other media outlets. She obtains a bachelor degree in Communication.

You Might Also Enjoy...

NCAA Division I East First Round live streaming

How to watch the 2024 NCAA Division I East First Rounds? Live results, schedule

2024 NCAA Division I East First Rounds will be live streamed on ESPN+ from May 22-25 and fans can watch all the action with a subscription.

Lamont Marcell Jacobs after winning the Olympic 100m title in Tokyo

Lamont Jacobs wins 100m: Lucca International Meeting 2024 Results

Lamont Marcell Jacobs of Italy won the men's 100m at the 3rd Lucca International Meeting 2024 meeting, clocking 10.07 secs on May 19. Full results and recap.

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone wins 400m at the USATF Championships in World-Leading Marks

McLaughlin-Levrone Set to Make Statement Over 400m Hurdles at 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials

American sprinter Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone will race in the 400m hurdles at the 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials, an event she hasn't contested since breaking the world record in 2022.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.